JenNet-IP based networking
A key element in the system is the smart control of devices. Many current smart control systems use protocols that provide connectivity, but commonly do not offer seamless end-to-end IP communication between devices on the Internet and those in the local network. They often require separate bridging devices with protocol conversion and address translation to interface to the Internet.
The JenNet-IP network layer software provides a standards-based wireless sensor network that offers full IPv6 (and IPv4) connectivity to all nodes in a network. The JenNet-IP 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Network) 'mesh-under' tree network' operates using the well-established IEEE 802.15.4 standard that provides a radio and MAC (Media Access Control) platform and functions in the worldwide 2.4GHz ISM radio band.
Devices are connected together using a new version of the robust and established JenNet tree networking layer. Interoperability between devices is ensured using an easy to use lightweight MIB-based API (Application Programming Interface) support layer. The standardised MIB (Management Information Base) built into the software defines behaviours of common devices. Typical behaviours include lamp on/off, dim up/down, colour change, or monitoring of power usage, burning hours and on-off switching cycles. Thus the system offers high levels of flexibility, enabling developers to use pre-defined behaviours of and to add their own functionality.
Figure 1. JenNet-IP Network Diagram
Figure 1 shows a consumer device, such as a smartphone, tablet or PC, controlling a lighting network via the Internet. The Smartphone application sends DIPL commands to lights via IP through the Internet cloud and the home gateway into a wireless IP network. The lights run an application on a wireless microcontroller to interpret the DIPL commands and control the light.
Robust and secure networking
In addition to providing true IP connectivity from the Internet to devices in the home, JenNet-IP provides a highly robust 'self-healing' tree network proven at over 250 nodes. JenNet-IP implements a 'gateway-less' mode of operation, which allows the system to carry on working even if the Internet gateway fails; or if a lamp is simply out of range of the gateway it will still connect with other powered lamps via the tree network.
If one of the established routes fails, due to a faulty router for example, the network will detect this and will automatically try and re-establish alternative routing through a nearby node, providing a high degree of robustness and reliability – which is essential for successful deployment. Additionally, JenNet-IP is also highly secure, offering the 128-bit AES encryption built into IEEE802.15.4 for authentication and device joining, ensuring that networks cannot be hacked, remain unique to their owner and do not overlap with adjacent ones.
GreenChip smart lighting solution
In terms of bulb or lamp hardware implementation, NXP's GreenChip is a complete hardware and software smart-lighting solution that delivers the necessary electronics at the size, cost and power consumption to fit in an everyday light bulb. It brings together wireless IP connectivity – in which each light bulb has its own IP address – smart control software, and standby power down to 50mW in a compact, low-cost and highly energy efficient solution, enabling new ways to control lights and manage energy consumption. As previously mentioned, the highly competitive cost of microcontrollers with wireless capability means integration into individual lamps or light fittings is an incremental cost when considering the typical retail price for an LED lamp today.
The GreenChip reference design (shown in Figure 2) integrates into the body of the bulb itself the JN5148 wireless microcontroller, the TEA1721 power supply devices, and the SSL210x driver for LED lamps or UBA202x for CFLs. The antenna is printed on the PCB and connects directly to the JN5148 wireless microcontroller, which has a low power consumption of 15mA in transmit and 17.5mA in receive mode; and just a few nanoamps in sleep mode, enabling a multi-year battery life.
Figure 2. System architecture of the GreenChip smart lighting solution
The lighting application controlling the bulb, and also monitoring its power consumption, communicates to either remote devices or to the Internet via the DIPL and the JenNet-IP 6LoWPAN wireless network. Additionally, GreenChip-enabled light bulbs will be able to operate on the same wireless sensor networks that consumers may already be using at home for energy metering, smart appliances and security systems. Application possibilities range from the control and management of small-scale residential installations to very large commercial and industrial facilities, where IP-connectivity facilitates the seamless integration of a lighting network into building management systems through the existing wired Ethernet backbone, and one or more JenNet-IP to Ethernet bridges.
JenNet-IP systems have already been deployed in a number of trial sites, primarily in lighting applications, and have demonstrated that a practical and easily affordable solution enabling wireless-connected devices to be installed and operated in the domestic home is now a reality.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.
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